Our Defense Systems
L ong ago our Lord told us that those who are persecuted for righteousness sake are blessed. He admonished us to rejoice and be glad when men speak evil of us falsely for His sake, telling us that we would be sharing the company of great men of God who have gone on before us. The scripture tells us in another place that all who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (Matt. 5:10-12; 2 Tim. 3:12). These are strong indicators, actually a guarantee, that persecution and suffering at the hands of the world are the reward we receive when we strive to live true to our Master. Surely it is an honor and a privilege to suffer for the sake of the Savior who endured so much for us.
So far we’ve learned that true ekklesias are made up of true disciples. True disciples are those determined to live godly in Christ Jesus. Following this line of thought leads us to the conclusion that the ekklesia is bound to suffer persecution. Ekklesia Living is no safeguard against persecution. On the contrary, Ekklesia Living draws it like a magnet. From its inception over 20 years ago our ekklesia has had the honor of experiencing persecution, in varying degrees, on many occasions. This is important because it lets us know that we are on the right track. The only time the enemy should leave the true Christian alone is when you are dead. As long as we are alive and kicking, raising hell for the Kingdom of our God, we should expect backlash from the demonic realm—persecution.
Considering persecution is a normal part of the Christian life then God must have a purpose for it. Somehow it must fit into His plans. The answer to this puzzling question lies in the principle that God will use all things for the good of those that love Him. Persecution is no exception. The reason we mention this subject is because in this part of our series we continue to develop the comparison between the ekklesia and the human body. More specifically we must look at our defense systems—the mechanisms God has put in place to keep us alive and well in a world bent on our destruction. Undoubtedly, the majority of our battles are fought in our mind, therefore it is important we understand the ways which the Spirit helps and strengthens us to deal with persecution. More than being able to physically endure hardship and suffering, we must understand why it’s happening and how the Spirit has equipped us to deal with it. When everything seems dark and the heat is on it is especially comforting to know that God will use all these things, no matter how painful or discouraging, for our good as we continue to trust and obey. This knowledge is an important component of our defense, for it buoys us up when we come under attack, filling us with the hope and assurance that God is in control.
SPIRITUAL BODY BUILDING
Those of us who are determined to serve God in this life, who take our discipleship seriously, soon find that we can't do it ourselves. We just don't have what it takes. Our strength fails. Unless we cry out to God for help we won't finish our course. In the physical realm when people seek to strengthen themselves they regulate their diet and increase their exercise, which often includes lifting weights. These methods are proven to increase your physical health and strength. The same principles hold true in the Spiritual realm. Here’s how it works. God's principle of holiness regulates our diet, restricting us from feasting on the filth of the world. The deeper we fall in love with Jesus the more the world and its sinful ways sicken us. We stick to God’s table for our nourishment. When it comes to spiritual exercise and weightlifting God has some unique ways of keeping us in shape. Reaching out to the lost (our great commission) as well as serving our brothers and sisters in Christ are excellent opportunities to exercise our love and faith, causing them to grow stronger. “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Another set of spiritual exercises we can do involves self-denial. Over the years we have proven the effectiveness of these techniques to strengthen us in the spirit. Fasting is a mighty weapon that the enemy fears. Establishing regular patterns of fasting and denial in the diet realm helps keep us lean, alert and ready for battle in the spirit. We call it consecration. Denying your carnal appetites is a spiritual exercise that has benefitted serious disciples down through the ages. Why all this denial anyway? The ugly reason is our carnal, beastly nature is never satisfied. The flesh always wants something else, something more, to satisfy its lust. This can be a terrible vexation as we seek to serve the Lord. In fact, the enemy will use our own flesh as a weapon against us in order to slow us down or even stop us from following God. One way we counter these assaults is through self-denial. This is important for us to understand as it will greatly strengthen us, and becoming stronger is essential because our level of strength in the Spirit helps determine how well our defense systems work. Just as it is in the physical, the same holds true in the Spirit. The stronger you are the better you can defend yourself, the better your chances for survival. The enemy looks for our weak spots, our soft underbelly so to speak. He aims for those parts because he knows that is where he can easily penetrate and do the most damage. God looks for those parts as well, yet for a different reason. He wants to find our weak spots in order to make them strong. Denying ourselves is one sure way God strengthens our weak areas.
STRENGTH THROUGH SUFFERING
Another set of spiritual exercises God puts us through involves persecution. These ordeals can come in many forms and levels of intensity. Practicing the principle of loving our enemies takes a degree of spiritual strength that we don't often have. Even though Jesus gave us this command, and we may be ready and willing to carry it out, often it can be hard to love your enemies. To make things worse sometimes you don't even know who your enemies really are. Persecution takes care of this. One benefit of persecution is that it identifies our enemies, giving us a wonderful opportunity to pray for them. As we are attacked, and we respond according to God's principles, our strength grows in great measure. Another benefit of persecution is that it works to bind us together as a team, or fighting unit, multiplying our strength and further enhancing our defense systems. True, persecution is never pleasant, yet as we take it to the Lord in prayer the benefits we gain are well worth the struggle and the pain. Remember what our Master told us, “because they hate me, they're going to hate you as well” (John 15:18-20). Fellowshipping the sufferings of our Lord through persecution is an honor and privilege that not all Christians are ready to embrace. Yet when we are willing to suffer for His sake, counting it as a blessing, we gain a special place of closeness to the One who suffered for us.
As well as strengthening us, persecution also performs another important function, that of cleansing and purifying. The Bible talks about how our faith is purified by fiery trials in order that it may be brought forth like pure gold (I Peter 1:7). Often those fiery trials come in the form of persecution. When the heat is on we begin to evaluate ourselves more closely. Much superfluous, unnecessary junk that accumulates on and around us is thrown into the flames. The fire burns away our religious facades and man-made masks, purifying us and making us real. Our motives are exposed for what they really are, allowing us to get straightened out if need be. The hardship and pressure caused by persecution actually forces us to ask ourselves all over again, "How much do I really love Jesus? Am I willing to suffer for the sake of the One who suffered for me?" These are penetrating questions many refuse to face.
Tying this into our subject, God is undoubtedly concerned about the defense of His body here on earth. The fact is when we are cleansed, purified, and strengthened we are better able to deal with the forces seeking to destroy us. Everyone knows that a strong, healthy human body is less likely to succumb to every sickness it encounters. The same holds true for our spiritual body. We fully understand that God is our defense, yet an important part of the way He defends us is by increasing the strength of our commitment to Him and purifying the motives and intents of our hearts. In other words, God defends us by making us better able to defend ourselves. Self-denial and persecution are two methods God uses to fine-tune us, increasing our spiritual strength. He is glorified when we can victoriously survive enemy attacks as well as bring forth fruit in His Kingdom. From a carnal point of view God's methods may seem difficult, even painful. Yet as we keep focused on the fact that God is in control and His mercies to us are endless, we find that our obedience brings us out on top. If we are willing to sacrifice a measure of carnal pleasure (which never truly satisfies), we will gain spiritual treasure that is ours for eternity.
DEFENDING OURSELVES IN OTHER WAYS
Going back to our physical body, we find that we are equipped with some amazingly intricate defense systems which are rugged, sensitive, and flexible. We are built to last. Anything that weakens us, incapacitates us, or shortens our life span can usually be traced back to self-inflicted abuse or neglect. Although there may be things in our living environment that adversely affect us from without, these account for only a small part of the problem. Generally we’re to blame. We abuse ourselves by eating foods proven to be unhealthy. We eat how much and whatever we like, ignoring the consequences until it's too late. We neglect exercise because we're lazy. We won't exercise until we can't exercise. We live in sin because we're inherently cursed rebels on God. The wages of sin is death, and in our rebellious stupidity we eagerly clamor for our paycheck. All these factors combine to undermine our built-in defense systems, taking years off our lives. What's worse is that much of our life that does remain is rendered useless because we’ve become incapacitated by bad health. Undoubtedly, we are our own worst enemy.
On a positive note, let’s look at some of the wonderful ways our body protects itself in the physical. Our bodies are strengthened and guarded by several defense systems: our skin, that incredibly durable barrier between us and the world; our senses of sight, sound, taste, and smell that warn us of danger; our elimination processes, including nausea and vomiting, that work to cleanse us of contamination; at the cellular level we have a highly complex immune system which constantly patrols our internal environment, waging war against invaders that seek to harm us. In addition we have the command center called the brain which is constantly monitoring our physical condition, gathering information and learning from our mistakes in order to ensure our survival. Each of these systems is a wonder in its own right, yet the wisdom of Divine design has gone a step further, integrating these components so that they supplement, compliment, and support each other in many amazing ways. When it comes to survival we have a system that can't be beat. Like the other systems we examined in previous segments of this study, the components of our defense also have spiritual counterparts in the ekklesia. How do these physical systems translate into Ekklesia Living?
First we have the skin: a barrier that surrounds the entire body. Once we determine to separate ourselves from the world, grouping together into ekklesias, the rules and standards of God by which we live become our protective covering. Just like the skin protects the body in environments that are often harmful and destructive, God's rules and standards protect us from the forces of sin and worldliness that constantly attack us. The key to the success of this system is the understanding that we must strive to stay separate from the sin-ridden world. We must be in the world but not of it. In other words, we must cultivate an attitude of separation. We must never forget that as disciples and soldiers of the cross of Christ we are different. We live by another set of rules. It's those rules that preserve us from the many destructive forces that seek to invade and conquer us. Of course we know that ultimately God is our protection, yet God is the one who gave us the rules! We prove to God that we love Him and we want His covering over us by our willingness to uphold His standards for all to see.
Ultimately, it's up to us to live by God's rules and uphold His standards. This is something we can do—a choice that we make which keeps us covered. In addition to the wisdom of living by God’s rules we have another covering, another skin so to speak, which is of divine, supernatural origin—God's covering of mercy and love over us! This spiritual skin is in a realm all by itself—the realm of the miraculous. It far surpasses our ability to protect ourselves, for often we fall short of obedience and let His standard fall to the ground. If it wasn't for God's loving care over us we would certainly be finished. In His great mercy and love God thwarts the enemy's attacks which would otherwise destroy us. He protects us from deceptive tricks, traps, and our own idolatrous stupidity for no other reason than that He loves us. Amazingly, God even makes our blunders work for our good as we humble ourselves and practice the attitude of gratitude. He teaches us valuable lessons through our mistakes, turning the enemy's crafty schemes and evil strategies into victories for us. Only God can do this. We desperately need the protective covering of His mercy and love, both individually and over the ekklesia as a whole, and we should never be ashamed to admit it.
Another point to consider is the inherent healing properties of our natural skin. Cuts and abrasions break through our protective covering all the time. Thank God the ability to repair itself is built into the skin's design. Blood coagulates and stops flowing at the site of the wound and the skin cells begin rebuilding and replacing the damaged area until it is healed. All this takes place automatically, behind the scenes. What a miracle! If this system stops working for any reason we stand the chance of bleeding to death. Just as with our natural skin, we can damage our spiritual covering as well, and when we do we have trouble. Rebellion, lust of the flesh, pride, idolatry—sins of every type damage our spiritual skin. In our stupidity we make lesions, gaping wounds, in our covering that open us up to enemy attack. In other words, sin opens the door for the devil. Thank God that through the humility of repentance, dominion, deliverance and careful obedience even the nastiest wound can be healed. When we make a breach in the wall we must come to God on our knees, begging Him to heal us and make our covering whole again lest the enemy come in like a flood and destroy us. Thank God protection is just a prayer away.
A DANGEROUS TRAP
At this point it would be wise to mention a dangerous trap into which many modern Christians fall. The deception involves getting the wrong idea that you can take God's mercy for granted. When this happens people inevitably begin to abuse His mercy. Naturally, when the skin is abused and mistreated its protective strength is undermined and greatly weakened. As the deception grows deeper, people begin to imagine they deserve God’s mercy and that He owes it to them. They convince themselves that it will always be there no matter how they act. As a result they twist God's mercy into a license to sin. Yet anyone who truly comes to know the Lord in a deeper way soon finds out that God is not mocked. Don't be deceived. God is under no obligation to us. He is able to withdraw His mercy at any time and leave us locked in our sins with no chance of escape. Those who fall into the trap of abusing God's mercy often end up reprobate, thinking God is covering them as they continue in willful sin. The modern church scene is full of these characters. The truth is God has left them to themselves. Tragically, they won’t realize this until they die in their sins and then it will be too late! Everything will be made plain when they stand before God and they are separated from Him for eternity because they abused His mercy to the point of no return.
OUR SENSES AND DISCERNMENT
Another important component of our defense system is our set of physical senses. In the physical we have our sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch that keep us aware of the world around us. We use these senses continually in so many ways that we take them for granted. Yet put on a blindfold or plug your ears and you will quickly find out how difficult it is to operate without their help. How do these sensory components work in the ekklesia? First of all, we must remember that in essence each ekklesia is a spiritual entity. It follows that in the ekklesia, aside from the physical world, we look at things from a spiritual perspective as well. Like any other body, the Body of Christ on earth has all the usual sensory components, eyes, ears, nose, etc. Yet in the ekklesia they operate by a different principle. Unlike the physical body which relies on the natural functioning of its senses, the Body of Christ utilizes these components on a spiritual level through a power we call discernment (I Cor. 2:14). Undoubtedly, the gift of discernment is one of the most valuable things God has bestowed upon His body. In the ekklesia we learn to see, hear, and feel in the Spirit. (This is why the church is in such a sad state—totally conquered by the world. Discernment among God's people has become atrophied through lack of use. You may as well not have it at all if you don’t use it.) Undoubtedly, the gift of spiritual discernment operating in us keeps us alive and alert to the attacks of the enemy.
In the physical we look and listen for things that may harm us. Originally God designed our senses that we could fully enjoy the beauty and wonder of His creation. Yet ever since sin entered the picture our senses have become tools for survival, helping us stay alive in environments that are often harsh and unforgiving—even deadly. The same is true in the Spirit, yet spiritually speaking we are also called upon to make judgements as to what is good and evil, right and wrong. This is the reason why the modern church has become spiritually blind, deaf and dumb: no one wants to take the responsibility for judging sin. No one wants to call sin for what it is—especially in others. They want everything to stay nice, friendly, comfortable, and DEAD! Yet if sin is not removed from the body the inescapable fact is that eventually it will cause death. This is why discernment is so important: it is God's way of keeping His people spiritually alive and healthy.
Undoubtedly our deadliest problem is SIN. Sin comes in many forms and it is our job, with God’s help, to detect it and remove it before it does damage. This is where discernment comes into play as a vital component of our defense. In the natural we feel the heat and quickly move away from something that is about to burn us. In the Spirit we can feel the fire of lust burning in us and we attempt to quickly quench the flame. If we take a wrong turn and lose our way we soon look around and realize we are lost. When we take a wrong path in the spirit our discernment will alert us to danger, causing us to seek God for direction before we run into trouble. When we hear someone speaking lies and false doctrine we discern it with our spiritual ears, countering it with the truth before we fall in the ditch of deception. When food goes bad we can tell immediately by the taste and smell. When books, magazines, music, or videos come into the ekklesia we use our discernment to examine the content. If it stinks and is rotten (not meeting God's standard) we throw it out. In doing this we protect ourselves and our children from being poisoned by worldliness.
Discernment is very important. Yet, just as importantly, it must be followed by action. Many people know that their activities are killing them yet they won't do anything about it. They understand the concept of sin. They know the difference between right and wrong. They are fully aware of the damage being done. Yet lack of action on their part seals their fate. Countless people self-destruct, knowing full well the reason why, but they won't do anything to stop it. The Holy Spirit can gift us with the sharpest discernment, yet if we won't act on that discernment then it does us little good. Another point about discernment is that, like many other things, if you don't regularly exercise it soon you won't be able to. If you don't use it you lose it. Then you won't have anyone to blame but yourself when you are tricked, trapped, or poisoned to death by sin.
SYSTEMS THAT TAKE ACTION
In the human body we have two systems specially designed to deal with problems in a concrete way. First we have the system of elimination that involves vomiting. Feelings of nausea, followed by vomiting, is one way the body gets rid of foreign elements that are making it sick. If you eat something rotten or poisonous your body automatically knows what to do. It will try to vomit out the problem. Of course this is never pleasant, and we can also vomit for other reasons, nevertheless it is an important part of our defense. When alcoholics go overboard and try to poison themselves to death with liquor, they find out that the body is working against them to preserve itself. When enough alcohol is consumed the body reacts violently with nausea and vomiting. Secondly, we have our regular systems of elimination that work on a daily basis to cleanse the body of the waste products that accumulate in the course of normal activities like eating and drinking. These systems are very important, for if the waste products are not readily removed they will soon reach toxic levels and make us very ill. Chronic constipation, resulting in bowel cancer, along with kidney failure, knock multitudes of people out of the race of life every year.
Each of these mechanisms has its counterpart in the ekklesia. Let’s look at the first one. When someone goes bad in the community, choosing to yield themselves to rebellion, lust, envy, or any other hateful sin, something has to be done. Right away the offender’s behavior starts making others sick. When personally confronted most will generally admit their guilt, feel bad and repent. Yet if it proves out they really don't want to change, evidenced by continually falling back into the same sin over and over, then leadership must take action for the sake of the rest of the body. Let's say Bob has a problem with sexual lust. He has been confronted several times, repented, and even had a few demons cast out. Yet the women carefully avoid him because he can't seem to keep his hands to himself. He keeps falling back into the same behavior. Soon it becomes obvious that, regardless of what Bob says, he doesn't really want to change. In order to protect the female soldiers the leadership must do something to remedy the situation. Soon Bob is asked to leave. Hopefully this drastic action will cause Bob to wake up and do business with the Lord. If he does eventually have a change of heart, and God is satisfied that his repentance is genuine, then he can be restored.
Sin must be judged and the Bible gives instructions on how to proceed (Matt. 18:15-17). In some cases disfellowship, otherwise known as the ban, or shunning, can be brought to bear on the offender. In this way the person is isolated from the rest of the community in hopes that they will see themselves and change their behavior. If this doesn't work then ultimately the person must be removed. In other words, their sin makes the Body of Christ sick to the point that it will vomit them out. This is the final step in dealing with these kinds of problems. Operations of this nature are very delicate, requiring a mature spiritual hand guided by God in order to keep damage to a minimum. Sin is always ugly. Unrepentant sin, hidden under the guise of Christianity, is the ugliest of all. Hypocrisy is a deadly enemy we must all guard against. Thank God for the probing and purifying of the Holy Spirit that works to keep us honest, upright and clean.
The second system has to do with waste removal—taking out the trash so to speak. You think, “What’s the big deal? Everybody gets rid of their trash.” True, yet not everybody lives in an ekklesia that doubles as a war machine. Individuals and single families live by different rules. Dealing with accumulated trash is not nearly as critical for smaller family groups as it is in an ekklesia which may have anywhere from a couple dozen to several hundred people. The system of waste removal in the ekklesia which corresponds with the body’s system of elimination comes down to rules of living that keep the physical environment clean. During the business of day to day life we inevitably seem to generate and accumulate an enormous amount stuff—some of it useful, much of it trash. This continual build up of stuff has to be dealt with. The fact is God has a high standard for His people. Keeping the camp clean and free from unnecessary clutter is high on the ekklesia’s priority list. Why? Unsanitary conditions and piles of junk lying around effect the efficiency of the war machine. Things naturally get dirty in real life. Regularly enforced cleaning schedules are the answer. It’s been proven that careful sanitation practices lead to better health (God already knew that). Sick soldiers don’t fight like they should.
Beside cleanliness, too much junk can easily become a problem. Not only does it get in the way, it can lead to attacks of that dreaded disease called idolatry which can easily lead to death. Stupid humans that we are, if we get all we want all the time we inevitably begin to worship it. “Are you saying we have to get rid of everything?” Hardly. We make use of all kinds of stuff and things as the war machine rolls ahead. Yet ideally the war machine only uses what it needs. It’s hard to move fast when you’re weighted down with piles of unnecessary clutter. Some won’t even move at all because they don’t want to disturb their cozy nest lined with their favorite trinkets and creature comforts. The war machine has to be ready to move and move fast at any time. Flexibility is a key to combat readiness. God’s people are meant to a mean, lean (and clean) fighting machine. Accordingly it becomes the duty of God’s appointed leaders to maintain high standards of both spiritual and physical cleanliness, along with enforcing restrictions on excessive amounts of non-essential materialism. In this way God keeps us healthy and strong; our minds focused on pleasing our Captain and finishing the race instead of continually combating sickness or worrying about how much stuff we can accumulate. Thank God He keeps us clean and makes sure we take out the trash.
THE POLICE STATE WITHIN
Did you know our physical bodies have another amazing defense system which is continually at work on the cellular level? Invisible to the eye, yet very real, it is that component of our immune system that patrols our internal environment night and day. When men discovered that it was microscopic bacteria and viruses that were causing much of mankind's suffering, they also discovered that our human body has highly efficient ways of dealing with these invaders. Of course we know that our body is made up of a great multitude of cells, and each and every cell is important and designed to play its part in the body. Being more than just a huge mass of tissue, all of our cells are specialized into different groups or types and designed by God to perform specific tasks. Nerve cells carry messages. Muscle cells stretch and contract at our command. In our blood stream we find several different types of cells. One particularly important group are the white blood cells. According to God's magnificently wise design it is this group of cells that act like an internal police force, continually seeking out and destroying harmful elements that make their way into our body. These white cells are armed with their own intricate discernment mechanism which enables them to identify enemies of our system. Once a problem is identified, like a bacteria or virus, the white cell goes into action, attacking and devouring the offender. These tiny police are on guard throughout our body around the clock for our entire life. Space does not allow us a more detailed description. Let it suffice to say that without these cells we would soon succumb to sicknesses of every type. The AIDS plague that is ravaging the earth is so deadly precisely because it attacks our white blood cells. It knocks out our defense system, and you know the rest of the story: people with AIDS die from even minor illnesses that would otherwise be easily handled by a healthy body.
We can clearly see the counterpart to this incredibly efficient system working in the ekklesia. In order to remain strong and healthy in the Spirit, it is critical that the internal environment of the ekklesia be kept clean and functioning according to God's standards of holiness, obedience, and love. Negative influences from the world around us must be diligently eliminated. Just as it works in our physical body, ekklesians perform specific tasks which God appoints them. Members concentrate their energy on the primary job to which they are assigned, yet many are active in more than one field. Regardless of their individual jobs, every member of the ekklesia must at the same time act like a white blood cell, becoming skilled at discernment and then taking action to eliminate enemy activity. Just like our body, the ekklesia is under continual surveillance with every member doing their part to police the environment. This is God's plan to keep us spiritually healthy and clean and it works wonderfully. When everyone is on guard, problems are quickly pinpointed and dealt with. This way sin is not allowed to fester and grow, keeping damage to a bare minimum.
A VERY REAL WARFARE
The reality of the warfare in which we are engaged makes it obvious that every disciple must be a soldier, ready to defend and protect themselves from spiritual attack. Whether someone lives in an ekklesia or not, it is every Christian's duty to walk in holiness and fight against the forces of sin. Living in an ekklesia just makes our struggle for spiritual survival that much easier, and much more important as well, for the lives of others, especially children, are at stake. After experiencing Ekklesia Living for even a short while it occurs to those who truly love the Lord that they have found something special, something worth fighting for. Consequently, instead of fighting only for themselves, they soon desire to play their part in defending the entire community. They join the internal police force, becoming another white blood cell, so to speak.
The spirits of teamwork and comradeship run high as ekklesians work together to defeat a common foe. As well as patrolling the overall environment of the ekklesia, it is just as important that each member recognizes their responsibility to keep themselves clean and free from sin. Remember that the ekklesia is made up of individuals, and the condition of the individual members determines the condition of the whole. If sin is left undealt with it becomes a most deadly force that can quickly knock you out of the race and poison others as well. As each soldier adopts a militant stance in the Spirit, the combined force creates an environment of holiness and love wherein Jesus is pleased to walk and we are privileged to live.
We're all in this together and we aggressively confront the enemy as a team. Whenever idolatry tries to raise its wicked head it’s everyone's job to crush it. When the poison of worldliness seeps in it’s everyone’s job to expose the filth, clean up the mess, and take out the garbage. When someone develops a bad attitude everyone smells it; soon it is confronted and dealt with. When someone gives in to rebellion they quickly find that the entire community is against them. In this way the task of preserving an environment that is pleasing to the Lord falls not only on the shoulders of the leadership but on the entire community. When the ekklesia system is functioning properly, each member doing their part, the enemy has a hard time infiltrating. He is opposed on every hand because each member is on guard. Being soldiers, we understand that our own personal health, safety and happiness is in the balances, as well as that of our family and friends. No one who truly loves the Lord wants to see young people scarred by sin. Those of us who have been saved from the depths of sin feel strongly about this. Our great desire is to spare our children the shame we went through due to foolish, rebellious choices. We don’t believe you have to experience sin to find out how destructive it is. We do believe it is God’s wisdom to learn from the mistakes of others. Therefore we fight hard to uphold the high and holy standard our God demands, all the while teaching our young people the value of walking in God’s ways. Often the battle is hard and we are tempted to sink beneath the crushing weight of defeat or give in to the discouraging reality that our carnal nature is an enemy of God. Praise God the Holy Spirit is ours to lead and empower us as we determine to fight the good fight of faith, never giving up. What more can we ask for than to have the Lord God Almighty lead us into battle!
EKKLESIA LIVING IS THE ANSWER
In closing this segment outlining the similarities between the ekklesia and the human body, we want to once again state the purpose for this series of articles on Ekklesia Living. The wisdom of God made apparent in the ekklesia system is so deep that it is often unfathomable to our carnal, sin-stained minds. Who can know the depth of God's love for His people? Who can grasp a love so real, so strong, that it caused the Creator of the universe to suffer humility and death at the hands of His own wicked, rebellious creation in hopes of redeeming even one? Do we value enough the amazing grace, the incredible mercy, that has spared us from the eternal damnation we so rightly deserve? The fact that we have been given another chance to make things right and walk with our creator as He desires should cause us to continually bow down in praise and thanksgiving. What a friend we have in Jesus!
At the same time the wisdom of God is so beautifully high and lofty, so simple and easy to understand, that it will lift us up and cause us to soar in joy. As our hearts rise in praise and adoration of the One who has given us this treasure we can almost hear the angels sing. This is the reason we take the time and effort to explain, to magnify, to share what we have found—we want others to experience this treasure along with us! As we let God direct our lives, perfecting us in the art of Ekklesia Living, we know that it brings pleasure and joy to our Master. Jesus died for us, we must live for Him. In our darkened minds we are often at a loss as to how this can be done. Yet in His abundant mercy He has shown us the way—the way of loving obedience and sacrifice for the sake of others. Ekklesia Living is unquestionably the answer to the question that asks how God wants His people to live. Why not join with us and let Jesus Himself show you how wonderful life can be when He is in charge?